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Airway Structure and Function in Asthma

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As asthma is a disease characterized by muscle spasm, airways inflammation and mucus plugging of the airways, one can only generalize about their relative importance. For example, when an asthmatic attack is easily and completely reversible by drugs that relax smooth muscle. It is likely that smooth muscle spasm is the major cause of the airways obstruction. It also seems probable that when patients have airways reactivity that waxes and wanes in severity with intermittent severe attacks of asthma, the airways may be thickened by inflammation and the smooth muscle may be unloaded by softening of the cartilage. Finally, when patients die of asthma and their airways are solidly plugged, it seems reasonable to conclude that the plugs are the cause of death. The common pathway in these widely different situations may be the inflammatory reaction. Indeed, it seems likely that understanding the basic nature of the inflammatory response in airways tissue and its effects on wall thickness and the mucus secreting apparatus will provide clear insights into how to reverse the asthmatic state.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1986

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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